If John Milton (1608-1674) is well-known in France for his poetry, most notably for his epic Paradise Lost which Chateaubriand immortalized in 1855, he is much less known for his political writings. Even if the literary dimension of Milton should not be ignored, we should reassess him as a political thinker in the numerous pamphlets he has left us - especially as he was Latin secretary for the English Republic. This 8th International Milton Symposium, "Milton, Rights and Liberties" will pay a tribute to Milton the literary figure and the political writer.
Grenoble is the cradle of the French Revolution. At Grenoble on June 7, 1788 as regional Parliaments were closed down by Louis XVI, the people rose up and threw tiles at the garrison sent to subdue them (It was called the "Day of Tiles"). The Estates general of Dauphine were held in Vizille on July 21st, 1788 and they ignited the French Revolution.
English republicans found their way into the discourse of the French Revolution. Milton, Nedham and James Harrington were translated or adapted by French revolutionaries to fit their own purposes. Mirabeau, the first President of the National Assembly, translated Milton's Areopagitica as "Sur la liberte de la presse, d'apres Milton" and his First Defense of the English People as "Theorie de la royaute, d'apres la doctrine de Milton" in 1788, which was ominiously republished as Defense du Peuple anglais, sur le jugement et la condamnation de Charles premier, roi d'Angleterre. Par Milton. Ouvrage propre a eclairer sur la circonstance actuelle ou se trouve la France. (Valence, 1792)
Milton's masterpiece, Paradise Lost, was translated for the first time into French by Dupre de Saint-Maur in 1743 (the very year Handel performed "Samson"), and the work was republished in 1792.
Obviously, the French Revolution wanted to recuperate Milton.
The 8th Intl. Milton Symposium purports to be transdisciplinary: specialists of English literature as well as specialists from other disciplines (i.e. history, philosophy, art, law, politics, theology) are invited to bring their own contribution to the promotion of Milton studies.
The perspective we suggest is the passage from an age when the main objective of government was to establish rules for the life and well-being of the body politic to an era when people became increasingly aware of deep changes in the structures of society. Up to the 13th century, nobody paid much attention to the rights of man. We owe the emergence of a new idea of rights to the struggle against the arbitrary power of absolute monarchy between the Magna Carta (1215) and the Petition of Right (1628). The defence of rights and liberties arose much earlier and was more intense in Great Britain than elsewhere. Rights and liberties were defended most prominently by John Locke at the end of the XVIIth century and this defence was extended in America in the War of Independence (1776-1783). It reached a climax in the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights during the French Revolution in 1789.
Hence the questions: what status does Milton lend to rights in his works? What is his conception of law and justice? What is his idea of liberty? On what documents and principles does he base the rights and liberties he defends? What kind of liberties does he claim? What heritage has he left us?
This main theme is not intended to exclude other topics. The organisers would welcome suggestions for sessions on other themes. Indeed, papers on any aspect of Milton studies will be welcomed, and will be grouped with similar papers to generate themed sessions.
Please send an abstract of your proposal (250 words) before September 30, 2004, to the mailing address or e-mail address below.
A performance of Handel's Samson, a highlight for the conference
Milton's tragedy Samson agonistes (1671) is perfectly in line with the main conference theme. That's why we have thought we could arrange a performance of Handel's Samson (1743), an oratorio in 3 acts adapted from Milton's last dramatic poem, with a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton.
Handel's Samson will be presented at The Summum in Grenoble on 10 June 2005 at 7:30 PM by the Symphonic University Orchestra of Grenoble conducted by Patrick Souillot and directed by Gil Galliot. It will be produced by a local company, Business & Tourisme.
The Symphonic University Orchestra of Grenoble, which will perform Handel's Samson in connection with IMS 8, is presided over by Jean-Paul Stahl, Professor of Medicine at the University of Grenoble 1.
The Conference is to be held at the School of Law in Grenoble.
It is to be organized by the Centre of Studies for Historical and Legal Studies on Human Rights, University of Grenoble 2 (contact : Marie Zanardi, firstname.lastname@example.org or Christophe Tournu,
email@example.com) in association with many regional research centers, including the University of Grenoble 3.
The President will be Neil Forsyth, Professor of English at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Information, registration and hotel reservation are online on our website (address given below).
We look forward to seeing you all in Grenoble in 2005.
On behalf of the organizing Committee.
Universite Pierre Mendes France
Faculte de Droit
73, rue des Universites - Domaine universitaire
38040 GRENOBLE Cedex 9
Phone / Fax: 0033-476-825-728 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.john-milton.org
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